Here at Generation West, we talk a lot about how the first 1000 days of life are especially important for building our baby’s brain. So we’ve put together a short list of the best things parents can do to help our children thrive in the first 1000 days of life.
We all love to spend quality time talking and listening to our babies every day, and they love it too!
Babies learn best by seeing your facial expressions, hearing your voice and anticipating what comes next: when you do something, they respond and when they do something, you respond! This back and forth builds their brain and helps them with their social skills.
And because young children especially love routines like bath time, story time, and bedtime, these are the perfect moments to turn into a special, fun time for you and your family.
Babies are born ready to learn, and they do this through playing together with you.
Providing opportunities for your baby to play, read, and explore their world helps give them new experiences to build their brain. And providing all this in a safe, predictable environment also helps improve your baby’s health and wellbeing.
Talk and connect
Talking with our children not only shows we love them but it helps them to feel safe and express their feelings.
Babies don’t yet know how to manage their big feelings, and what they are feeling can often overwhelm them. They need comfort from their parents and to feel like they easily express themselves to those they rely on and trust the most.
Soothing and understanding words often help calm young children. They love to hear the sound of a parent’s voice - remember many babies hearing their parents speak since before they were born!
These tips are helpful for building babies brains, but the most useful tip is for parents to look after themselves too and seek help when they need it.
Take care of yourself
For all mums and dads becoming a new parent is profound. But for some it can be overwhelming
For parents who are chronically exhausted, suffer from ongoing anxiety or depression, are stressed or just struggling with all the responsibilities of parenthood, taking quality time and giving our children the attention we want to can be difficult without appropriate, qualified support.
This is why Melbourne’s West needs a new approach to health and social support services. We’re already hearing from many parents that they can’t access the support they need from professionals when they need it.
Every family and every child in the West must have the same chance at a happy, healthy and thriving childhood.
That’s why Generation West is working with families, the community, and healthcare providers to tell our MPs that we need urgent action, starting with a comprehensive review and new plan for maternal and paediatric services here in the West.
There are now less than two weeks until the election and we need to make sure our MPs listen and can take our ideas to parliament and can start putting the services families and children in the West need to thrive.
If you haven’t already, sign the Generation West petition and make sure your family and friends do too. We’ll keep you updated on our campaign and ways that you can get involved.
Together we can make sure families in the West get the support they need to give their babies the best chance to thrive right from the start.